A group of artists have transformed part of a street in Shoreditch to make it more “homeless-friendly”.
The group – Space, Not Spikes – which describes itself as “Turning travesties of urban design into hospitable spaces” placed a makeshift sofa bed and bookshelf on top of an area of Curtain Road, which is covered with spikes aimed at deterring homeless people from sleeping there.
The creative protest is an attempt to reclaim the streets for everyone and protest about the way people are being priced out of the capital’s public areas.
Writing on their tumblr page, the group said: “Living in a city, we bumble along from place to place in tightly martialed lines. We’re told where we can walk, where we can sit, where we are welcome but only if we spend money. Or have it.
“It makes us neurotic and engenders a deep sense of ‘otherness’ in anyone who chooses to or simply cannot buy in to what currently passes for society and leisure.
“Anti-homeless spikes are part of that invention. Nothing says “keep out” to a person more than rows of sharpened buttplugs laid out to stop people from enjoying or using public space.”
The sofa bed is complete with soft furnishings and the bookshelf well-stocked with titles on urban living.
The group added: “We chose the Curtain Road location because of its resonance with artists. Round the corner and down the road were the studios and spaces used by artists who couldn’t afford anywhere else to live and work. This particular site is where the nightclub Plastic People used to live. It had a Vietnamese restaurant on top of it that vibrated on weekends. Now, we have spikes.
“Now, we’re looking at poor doors and architecture designed to keep the ‘right’ people in and the ‘wrong’ people out. Regardless of whether you own, rent or even have a home, the streets are ours.”